Today's Gospel: Luke 22:14—23:56
Today’s reading of Jesus’ Passion marks the most solemn Sunday Gospel passage of the liturgical year. Human sinfulness is on full display as the one who was without sin is brutally executed in the most humiliating fashion.
Yet in the midst of his tremendous suffering, Jesus continues to do what he did throughout his earthly life by offering us a model to follow. From the very beginning of the Passion narrative, Jesus reveals that he knows a time of great trial awaits him. Through his Agony in the Garden, he shows us the value in approaching God with the desires of our heart, while ultimately acknowledging that God’s ways are not our ways.
Beyond showing us how to suffer well, Jesus sought to fully share our human experience. In accepting the cross, he freely chose to enter into the deepest depths of human suffering. While the greatest benefit of his sacrifice was the gift of eternal life, Jesus also gave us the gift of having someone to walk with us through our sufferings in this life. Though our inclination in times of suffering may be to wonder why God has abandoned us, the cross is the definitive reminder that our God is able to accompany us in our sorrow and pain precisely because he willingly experienced those realities himself.
As we enter into Holy Week, let us take the time to contemplate the extent of what our Savior endured for our sakes. And in doing so, let us recognize that come Easter morning, our reason for rejoicing will be twofold- that death will not be the final word for us in the next life, and that our God is intimately present with us in all that we undergo now.
When we offer up our sufferings in union with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we allow God to transform them for the good of others. For what intention can you offer up the sufferings you endure today?
Lord, grant me the grace to bear the sufferings that afflict me. Help me to recognize your presence working through the people and experiences in my life to bring me comfort and peace.
Copyright 2016 Danielle Bianchi
Danielle Bianchi earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Theology from the University of Notre Dame, and is a graduate of the school’s Echo Program for catechetical leadership. She and her husband have three children.